Serial rapist Pravin Kumar's appeal dismissed

Last updated 15:58 02/04/2014

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A serial rapist who called his mentally ill victim from prison and pretended to be her doctor has had his appeal dismissed.

Pravin Fia Hari Prasad Kumar was convicted in 2009 of kidnapping, sexual assault and rape of a young woman with schizophrenia.

He was sentenced to preventive detention in 2010 after he was convicted of two rapes. He already had a history of violence and assaults on women.

While in prison, Kumar was caught running a complex scheme in which he would call his mother and have her divert his calls to phone numbers not approved by the prison phone system.

He obtained his victim's phone number at the care home where she lived by calling a string of people and pretending to be a doctor.

Once he got hold of the woman, he suggested she had been pressured to lie.

In a series of calls the next day he tried to get her to say the evidence she had given in court was not true and that she had not been raped.

Kumar was convicted in 2012 of willfully perverting the course of justice and sentenced to three years' jail.

He appealed his conviction in the Court of Appeal, claiming his phone call was "an unobjectionable attempt by him to have [the victim] reflect on whether the evidence she had given at trial was correct".

His lawyer submitted that the trial judge had incorrectly equated posing as a doctor on the phone with "improper means".

It was also submitted that questioning her three times about the rape was not bullying.

In a decision released today, the Court of Appeal disagreed with both submissions saying if Kumar's inquiries were legitimate, he could have used his lawyer or a private investigator he had retained.

"The point of his posing as a psychiatrist ... was obvious: it gave him considerable authority and thus added persuasive power."

The court said it agreed with the trial judge and dismissed the appeal.

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- Fairfax Media

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